Day 10: Finish in Sight

Monday, February 13, 2017

Frontrunner and Two Rivers local Matt Hall and his 10-dog team were welcomed in by friends and family as they made their way into the checkpoint at 16:29pm. Hall’s first checkpoint of the day was Mile 101 at 03:55. He rested his team for five hours and was on his way to Two Rivers at 0900. As all mushers serve an eight-hour layover at Two Rivers, Hall is eligible to leave at 00:29, giving him a seven-hour cushion between him and second place Hugh Neff.

Neff left Central at 0700 this morning, reaching Mile 101 at 12:25, rejoining the race after three hours rest at 15:32. Running with a team of 11, Neff slid into Two Rivers at 23:47, making him eligible to dash for the finish at 07:47.

The battle for third and fourth continues, as Allen Moore (06:24) beat Ed Hopkins (07:15) into Central by 51 minutes this morning, then departing within an hour of each other (Moore at 12:13, Hopkins 13:08). Moore made the Mile 101 checkpoint at 17:19, stopping only to hit his drop bags before departing for Two Rivers at 17:40. As of midnight he was 10 miles from the checkpoint.

Hopkins was stopped near the Eagle Summit for three hours and followed Paige Drobny in when she reached him shortly before 21:30. The two arrived at the Mile 101 checkpoint at 22:20, where they were still resting as of midnight. Drobny had departed Circle in fifth place at 00:52 with 11 dogs, hitting Central at 11:07, and leaving at 17:23.

Circle proved to be somewhat of a hub all day, with Torsten Kohnert and Katherine Keith three minutes apart in their departure from the checkpoint, at 03:53 and 03:56, respectively. Kohnert accomplished the run to Central in 12 hours, where he then took six hours rest, before heading out with his 12 dogs at 21:52. Keith pulled into Central 37 minutes later, at 16:43, and departed with a team of 10 shortly before midnight.

Ryne Olson and Jessie Royer pulled into Circle 11 minutes apart shortly before 0500, took six hours rest, and were away in short succession at 12:03 and 12:07. Royer lead for the first half of the run through Birch Creek, but stopped to rest about 15:30. Royer retook eighth place when Olson stopped to camp at 1800, and by midnight had a 10-mile (and growing) lead on Olson, some 15 miles outside of Central.

Rob Cooke and Brian Wilmshurst left Slaven’s together at 07:30, Cooke pulling away from Wilmshurst around 10:00 and arriving into Circle at 16:03. Wilmshurst and Dave Dalton arrived an hour later, despite Dalton having stayed an hour longer at Slaven’s. Cooke made tracks toward Central at 22:37 with 12 dogs, followed 28 minutes later by Dave Dalton Dalton with 11, and Wilmshurst at midnight.

At the back of the pack, Sébastien Dos Santos Borges reached Slaven’s at 0500. Gaetan Pierrard and Ben Good joined him around 09:30, though they wouldn’t linger: Pierrard stayed only 10 minutes, Good leaving after an hour. Dos Santos Borges began making his way toward Circle at 13:30. A rested and surging Dos Santos Borges caught Pierrard and the camped Good circa 1800, though Pierrard would rally, getting ahead of Dos Santos Borges and building a 40 minute lead into Circle, arriving at 22:47, Dos Santos Borges at 23:25. Ben Good was still 5 miles out at midnight.

Red Lantern candidate Hank DeBruin (bib #17) scratched from the race in Eagle, Alaska early Monday morning. His decision was made for the well-being of his team.

Standings as of 11:59PM:

1. Matt Hall
2. Hugh Neff
3. Allen Moore
4. Paige Drobny
5. Ed Hopkins
6. Torsten Kohnert
7. Katherine Keith
8. Jessie Royer
9. Ryne Olson
10. Rob Cooke
11. Dave Dalton
12. Brian Wilmshurst
13. Gaetan Pierrard
14. Sébastien Dos Santos Borges
15. Ben Good